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Ford argues that advanced technology is a compelling economic force that is either at the root of many of these trends or at the very least a significant contributor. I won’t go into the facts associated with these seven trends as many of you are well aware of their existence. He is not a big believer in the “retraining” of those workers displaced by technology. He believes that all the ‘low hanging fruit’ has been picked is long expired. He is also particularly concerned about the prospects for recent college graduates – technology that is in fact dramatically impacting the less experienced, white collar “wannabees”. As a parent of a young adult in university, with another on the way, this is disturbing. It is not getting easier for these kids. Ford cites a paper by several Canadian economists4 to back his claim. But we all sense this or know other parents in the same predicament. As he states, the Masters degree is the new Bachelor’s degree. In the US “overall about 20% of US college graduates are considered overeducated for their current occupation” – the figure is 27% in Canada5.
I came across an interesting article authored by the folks at Altegris Advisors in the US – the full piece is available here. In it, they argue the case for investing in macro trading and trend following strategies now. While it seems like a distant memory, those investors who had exposure to these strategies will remember how valuable they were for clients in 2008. They provided very attractive, uncorrelated returns when virtually all other investments went south. For those with even better memories, these strategies delivered solid returns in prior decades as well. Unfortunately, since 2009 there has been little in the way of performance and many retail investors have been ‘shaken out’. They present a number of reasons for this state of affairs (largely central bank policies) and a number of interesting factors that auger well for a timely reversal of fortune. We have added 5% exposure to this strategy via the Exemplar Diversified Fund, sub advised by IMFC (click here for details), to our fund of funds and recommend similar levels for private client accounts.
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